What is Active Living?

Active Living brings together urban planners, architects, transportation engineers, public health professionals, community residents and others to create places that make it easy to add activity like walking to the store or biking to work into every day life. 

An Active Community is a thriving communities with:

  • vibrant local business sectors heavily patronized by local residents
  • many opportunities for recreation
  • residents who regularly use biking, walking and transit for transportation

What are we doing to promote active living in suburban Cook County?

We are working in collaboration with our partners to shape policies and environments on the county and local level. Together we are striving to make suburban Cook County a better place to be active where we live, work, and play.

Here are some examples of how we're doing this:

On the county level we are working to make active living a priority by:

  • Updating regional bike networks to include improved routes and facilities
  • Working to draft, pass, and implement a countywide Complete Streets policy
  • Drafting and implementing a worksite wellness policy for county employees

On the local level, we are assisting our Model Communities to make physical activity accessible and safe by:

  • Developing active transportation plans
  • Passing and implementing municipal Complete Streets policies
  • Installing bicycle route signage
  • Creating and enforcing Safe Park Zones
  • Writing agreements for joint use of facilities between community institutions
  • Institutionalizing the chronic disease self-management program “Take Charge of Your Health” at community- and faith-based organizations
  • Developing worksite wellness policies that encourage employees to be physically active during the workday

Active Living Resources:

  • CDC: Activity guidelines – You know that you want to lead a more active life but you’re just not sure where to start.  Click here to see where you should start.


  • Active Transportation Alliance - The mission of Active Transportation Alliance is to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. We advocate for transportation that encourages and promotes safety, physical activity, health, recreation, social interaction, equity, environmental stewardship and resource conservation.
  • National Complete Streets Coalition – The mission of the National Complete Streets Coalition is to fundamentally transform the look, feel, and function of the roads and streets in our community, by changing the way most roads are planned, designed, and constructed. Complete Streets policies direct transportation planners and engineers to consistently design with all users in mind.
  • Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) - CMAP is the official regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will.  CMAP developed and now guides the implementation of GO TO 2040, metropolitan Chicago's first comprehensive regional plan in more than 100 years. To address anticipated population growth of more than 2 million new residents, GO TO 2040 establishes coordinated strategies that help the region's 284 communities address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues.
  • American Heart Association (AHA) – The American Heart Association’s mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. That single purpose drives all they do. The need for their work is beyond question.  By clicking here you will have access to a variety of resources to help you lead a more active life.


  • Alliance for Biking and Walking – Every community benefits from the fun, practicality, and efficiency of biking and walking. In 2015, one-third of all trips will be made by bicycling and walking for reasons ranging from personal health and environmental sustainability to economic necessity and moral responsibility. The Alliance has created, strengthened, and empowered effective and sustainable bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations in every state, province, and major city in North America. These organizations are highly respected by the public, media, and policy makers. Their efforts in their communities and their united strength at the national level have transformed communities into places where it is easy, safe, desirable, and common for citizens to bike and walk.
  • Active Living By Design – Active Living By Design creates community-led change by working with local and national partners to build a culture of active living and healthy eating.  Their vision is healthy communities, where routine physical activity and healthy eating are accessible, easy and affordable to everyone.
  • National Physical Activity Plan – The U.S. National Physical Activity Plan has a vision: One day, all Americans will be physically active and they will live, work, and play in environments that facilitate regular physical activity.  The Plan is a comprehensive set of policies, programs, and initiatives that aim to increase physical activity in all segments of the American population. The Plan is the product of a private-public sector collaborative. Hundreds of organizations are working together to change our communities in ways that will enable every American to be sufficiently physically active. The Plan aims to create a national culture that supports physically active lifestyles. Its ultimate purpose is to improve health, prevent disease and disability, and enhance quality of life.

Get Involved:

  • Join an Alliance for Healthy & Active Communities (AHAC) to learn how to increase the availability, accessibility, and demand for healthy nutritional options in your own community.
  • Become a member of Cook County Connects.  Cook County Connects features an online social network connecting hundreds of people working to make suburban Cook County a healthier place to live, work, and play. Members come from entities throughout suburban Cook County, including community-based organizations, local governments, and school systems. Join today to connect with, learn from, and share best practices with others in suburban Cook County. To join, fill out a member request form.